Student athletes from around the country stepped up to an intensive athletic and leadership “challenge” last week at St. Andrew’s School in Middletown. Now in it’s 14th year at St. Andrew’s, Strive: How You Lead Matters‘ annual Sports Challenge camp is a 9-day leadership and athletic training academy for high school basketball, soccer and lacrosse players. Several of the 130 campers have been multiple years, and coaches return year after year to the bucolic grounds of the boarding school because they love the kids and the unique program.
In addition to spending lots of time on the field or the basketball court, Sports Challenge students will take classes such as Public Speaking and Communications Skills, Got Grit? Sports Psychology and Mental Toughness, and Leadership Stereotypes and Cross-Cultural Communication. “It’s so much more than sports,” said Kodi Shay, who directs the basketball program. “I’ve been to instructional camps before that didn’t offer leadership training, which can positively affect your performance.”
Keith Dangarembga, a four-year soccer coach at Sports Challenge, said deep leadership training wasn’t available to him even as a collegiate athlete. “”I’ve never been to a program like this before,” remarked Dangarembga. “Every student athlete should try a program like this, which helps you better realize awareness of yourself and your community.” Dangarembga, who from Zimbabwe and teaches Conflict Resolution at the camp, said the program really empowers the kids to become strong team leaders.
Photography courtesy of Kim Rollins